I work as a consultant and this is an excerpt on how a lot of people in my profession live. At first it probably seems glamorous and exciting…always traveling on the companies dime, getting bumped up to first class on the regular, staying in hotels you’d never pay for yourself and eating at really expensive restaurants. Sure it sounds great, but let’s look a little deeper into what it actually means to travel for work. Because even with all those perks, there are a lot of downfalls and nothing is as perfect as it seems. Here are some things to consider:
Everyone will agree that if you’re going to travel a lot for work, you should be young. Why? Well, first off you probably love the idea! Second, you probably don’t have a family. And third, the money and the prestige may just be too much to turn down. Hell, if nothing is holding you back…why not?! It’s a great way to get those student loans paid off. If you’re older…God help you.
The lifestyle of a consultant (and to a lessor extend, the salesman) has been glamorized by shows like “House of Lies”. Yes, some of it’s true. But some of it is completely false. You will get the free upgrades to first class, the rewards points, the fancy food and drinks, and be able to save a lot of cash in the process. But unlike what the movies would have you believe you will not be partying a lot, living a double life or screwing multitudes of girls. In fact, you may not be screwing anyone…because you gave up your life to travel for work. And if someone is paying you to travel, they expect a lot of work out of you.
This is the part you really won’t like…the long hours! At least as a consultant, you will be putting in some time at the office. In fact, you’ll be spending so much time staring at a computer in a neon lit cubicle that you probably won’t ever get to see the new city you’ve been shipped off to. This is where the glamour fades quick and the point when you realize that all the travel for work is all the bad aspects of the travel experience. That being flights, taxis, hotel gyms, client offices and a bed that isn’t yours.
Expenses and Money:
Okay, back to the good stuff! When you travel for work, you actually save more money. Whatever company you work for will undoubtedly pay all your expenses while traveling. This usually includes all transportation costs, hotel costs, most food or drink costs, and any health club costs incurred while on the road. So basically you are living for free during all the days you travel. For me, that tends to be four days per week. Different companies do it differently…some make you keep receipts and then reimburse you whereas others will give you a corporate card.
A benefit that most people don’t think about, but road warriors obsess over are the Rewards Points offered by all your preferred vendors. These are small but consistent “points back” programs that tend to add up quickly without you even knowing it. Most people will have rewards programs with their airline, hotel, car rental and corporate card. In fact, it’s a good idea to have accounts set up with the majority of vendors since you never know when you’re going to need to switch service providers.
That’s it! I hope this was informative. It damn well should be, because as I write this I’m sitting in my office after a 12 hour day drinking a beer and trying to muster up the energy to get to the gym. Like I said at the beginning of this article, I work as a consultant and this is an excerpt on how a lot of people in my profession live.